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A much deeper Facebook experience coming to iPhone users

The next mobile version of Facebook, presumably available in late September, is packing a punch with some useful updates that make it almost as capable as the Web version.

On Wednesday night, Facebook previewed the next version of its popular iPhone application, which has retained one of the top spots in Apple's App Store since its launch in early July.

The new mobile version is a complete overhaul that shares much in common with the redesign of Facebook's Web version--a move that could be paving the way for mobile advertising and applications later on down the road.

The biggest addition in version 2.0 is support for real-time status updates, including integration with the service's messaging and live chat. At the time of launch, users will be getting these updates only while the application is running, with the push notifications coming when Apple flips that switch--presumably in a software update in late September, as promised.

For those using the application as a communications hub, the internetwork mail system has also been given an overhaul, letting users search through messages by words or entire phrases. It also pulls in the entirety of members' in-boxes, as opposed to the status quo of showing only the 30 most recent messages.

Between these two enhancements and an improved News Feed that better integrates media and shared links, the next version should be far more compelling. Anxious users will have to wait until sometime next month to get their hands on it, though.

Below, I've bundled together all the screenshots, courtesy of Facebook. If you're a Facebook user, you can also click through the entire set and see comments from other Facebook users here.